Order and chaos

June 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm (Assignments, Culture)

It amazes me how orderly the Japanese can be sometimes and so disorganized at others.  On escalators, it is an unwritten rule that people stand on the left side and walk on the right.  That’s something most Americans probably wouldn’t think about since we don’t use near as many escalators and when we do, it usually isn’t full of people like in a Japanese train station.  Speaking of train stations, those places are just crazy.  When people are in a hurry, it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you get where you need to go.  There really isn’t any order in the train stations (minus the escalators previously mentioned).  People will be coming from every direction and going in every direction, so you kind of just have to find your little niche to go through and wing it.

When we were at temples, all the little school kids would be neatly in their rows walking along.  There was even a time where we passed by a bunch of kids’ backpacks, and they were all in their rows as if the kids themselves were there.  Although young American students would walk in the rows for the most part, I guarantee the rows of backpacks wouldn’t have been anywhere near as neat.

Lastly, there are the streets.  For crossing at a cross walk, hardly anyone will just cross whenever traffic is clear.  Most people wait for the walk sign.  But on the side streets, where there are no crosswalks, there are no rules.  Often times the sidewalks were so small, that we’d spend half the time walking in the street and just move to the side whenever a car came along.  Sometimes it was a little crazy, but somehow we managed.

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1 Comment

  1. shastokes said,

    It also amazes me how the Japanese have rules and many abide by them. Like you mentioned, when crossing at a light on busy/big street, many wait for the signal to cross. I remember one time a classmate and I was following a little behind the group and we got caught by a light. We did not want to get too far behind and the light was still red, but we crossed when there was no traffic and my classmate mentioned that a lady gave us a dirty look for crossing when we were not supposed to! Also, when visiting the temple and the little school children were taking a photo, they were so organized and so cute! They really had the photo taking down to a T!

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